North Korea fired an apparent long-range missile from an area north of Pyongyang early Wednesday, resuming its provocations after a 75-day lull, according to South Korean and U.S. militaries.
"North Korea launched an unidentified ballistic missile into the East Sea from the vicinity of Pyongsong, South Pyongan Province, at around 3:17 a.m. today," South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.
The missile flew some 960 kilometers at an apogee of around 4,500 km, it said.
The data suggest the North might have tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
It was apparently fired at a lofted angle. If done at a standard one, it could have gone over 10,000 km, given its maximum altitude. That would put Hawaii, headquarters of U.S. Pacific forces, in range at 7,575 km.
"Initial assessment indicates that this missile was an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)," Pentagon spokesman Col. Robert Manning said in a statement.
He added the missile traveled about 1,000 km and landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone.
"We are working with our interagency partners on a more detailed assessment of the launch," he said. "The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America, our territories or our allies."
South Korean President Moon Jae-in convened a National Security Council (NSC) meeting to discuss the issue, according to his office, Cheong Wa Dae.
The South's armed forces also conducted a "precision strike" missile launch near the Northern Limit Line in the East Sea starting at around 3:23 a.m. in response to the North's provocation, said the JCS.
It involved the Army's missile unit, the Navy's Aegis ship and the Air Force's KF-16 fighter jet, each firing a missile at a simulated target set in consideration of the distance to the site where the North's shot the ballistic missile.
"Our military is keeping a eye on North Korea's military activities 24 hours," the JCS said. "It shows our resolve and ability to strike the origin of provocation and core facilities with precision anytime on the ground, at sea and in the air."
The North's missile launch marked its first since Sept. 15, when it fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) over Japan. It flew about 3,700 km at the maximum height of some 770 km.
It is the 11th missile provocation by the communist nation since the South's president took office in May with the stated policy goal of improving inter-Korean ties and bringing lasting peace to the peninsula.
|North Korea fires a Hwasong-12 ballistic missile on Sept. 15, 2017, in this file photo. (Yonhap)|
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